By Emily Goddard

The International Ice Hockey Federation has extended its deal with Infront until 2023 ©AFP/Getty ImagesThe International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has extended its media and marketing partnership with Infront Sports & Media for the Ice Hockey World Championship and Division I events until 2023.

The deal will see the international marketing firm continue to develop the sport's sponsorship programme, while handling all commercial licences, including merchandise, and distributing the global media rights for the flagship tournament across all platforms.

"A comprehensive agreement that holds such high impact for the development and growth of our sport of ice hockey needs to fulfil more than just financial criteria," René Fasel, President of the IIHF, said.

"It spurs the future of our flagship events and must therefore be based on reliability, mutual understanding and trust.

"The experienced Infront team knows the spirit of the IIHF events, the objectives of its commercial partners as well as the needs of ice hockey fans worldwide better than any other party."

In a relationship that dates back to 1981, the IIHF and Infront have reached a number of milestones.

They include the Guinness World Record with Škoda for the longest main sponsorship of a World Championship in history, the introduction of HDTV production in 2009 and the highest spectator attendance at an indoor ice hockey game - more than 78,000 people - at the opening match of the 2010 World Championship in Germany.

The cumulative audience of the 2013 Ice Hockey World Championship hit almost 1 billion ©AFP/Getty ImagesThe cumulative audience of the 2013 Ice Hockey World Championship hit almost 1 billion ©AFP/Getty Images

Last year, the cumulative audience of the Ice Hockey World Championship hit almost one billion, contributing to its status as the biggest annual winter sports event worldwide, while this year's edition will see television coverage available in a record 150 countries and territories.

"Our long-term relationship with the IIHF is truly unique in sport," Philippe Blatter, President and chief executive of Infront Sports & Media, said.

"We thank the IIHF for its great trust in our team and its ability to continue setting benchmarks for the federation's flagship events.

"Our partnership has not only enabled impressive growth for the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, but also marked media, marketing and audience records on a regular basis.

"Jointly with the IIHF and our commercial partners, we are fully committed to further boost the sport of ice hockey in the coming years at the highest quality levels and expand the impact of the IIHF events and assets."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
May 2014: Ice Hockey World Championships hoping to for record viewing figures after new broadcast deals
October 2013: European Ice Hockey appoints Infront as exclusive commercial partner of new club competition
May 2013: Ice Hockey World Championship to be broadcast free on YouTube